Australian eco-friendly hydrogen hub blocked by federal government

Jun 22, 2021 06:58 AM ET
  • Plans for an environment-friendly hydrogen hub in Australia that would certainly feature 26GW of solar as well as wind have actually been turned down by the federal government as a result of the project's environmental impacts.
Australian eco-friendly hydrogen hub blocked by federal government
Image: Total Eren

Set to be improved 6,500 square kilometres of land in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, the Asian Renewable Energy Hub (AREH) would mainly be made use of for the large production of sustainable hydrogen for domestic and export markets.

Nonetheless, in a decision released recently, Australian Environment Preacher Sussan Ley ruled that the project "will have clearly undesirable influences" on wetlands and also migratory bird species.

The ruling has been made in spite of Western Australia's government approving ecological authorization for the very first 15GW phase of the hub as well as the country's federal government awarding it major project status last October. Prior to that, Western Australia's Environmental Protection Authority had offered environmental approval provided the project meets conditions such as creating no-impact buffer zones and also hiding transmission lines to assist protect regional biodiversity.

The last AREH project would certainly have up to 23GW of solar as well as wind generation for the production of eco-friendly hydrogen and green ammonia and also at the very least 3GW of renewables capacity reserved for energy users in the Pilbara area. It is expected the center would produce 20,000 jobs throughout the ten-year building and construction period as well as 3,000 placements would be developed for at least 50 years when it is operational.

The consortium behind the hub-- which includes Intercontinental Energy, CWP Global, Pathway Investments (Macquarie) as well as Vestas-- stated in a declaration that it is functioning to recognize the federal environment ministry's worries as it works on the layout and design facets of the project. The consortium imagines economic close for its very first export phase by 2025, with environment-friendly hydrogen and also environment-friendly ammonia exports to start quickly after that.

The environment ministry's choice has actually drawn criticism from shareholder campaigning for team the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR), which claimed much more need to be done to sustain companies that are developing zero-emissions projects. "Once more, the federal government has actually shown that it hesitates to support projects that would certainly speed up the transition away from fossil fuels," stated Dan Gocher, ACCR supervisor of environment as well as environment.

Meanwhile, the Clean Energy Council said it anticipates the federal government to collaborate with the AREH to supply the required guidance to properly examine as well as resolve any ecological impacts.

Current months have actually seen plans for various other green hydrogen hubs in Western Australia move forward, with Danish investment company Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners revealing in November it would certainly back the Murchison Renewable Hydrogen Project that will certainly feature 5GW of solar and wind.

The state federal government earlier this year got lots of expressions of passion to create renewable hydrogen from a project in the Oakajee Strategic Industrial Area that might include up to 1,250 MW of solar, while independent power producer Total Eren lately authorized a memorandum of comprehending with an expedition business for the advancement of the HyEnergy Project in the Gascoyne region.